Welcome!

Welcome to the Exuma production blog.  I’m very excited to have the website up and running.  There is also a new trailer up and a newsletter sign-up so that people can follow along with progress and news about the film as well as behind-the-scenes blog posts about the process of creating the film.  Just type your name and email into the form in the sidebar to receive the newsletter.  Thanks for checking out the site!

Overwhelming Response to Exuma!

Hello friends and fans of the Bahamas! Exuma made its premiere several weeks ago at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.  Since then I’ve been fulfilling orders for DVD’s and Blu-ray’s through the website and getting ready to start working on other distribution including retail sales in the Bahamas.  I just wanted to take a minute to extend a big thanks to everyone who has expressed interest and enthusiasm about the film.  Strangers from all over the world have ordered the film in the past few weeks and I’ve been overwhelmed by the time people are taking to write me with feedback after watching it.  Here is some of the amazing feedback I’ve been getting from people:

My husband and I just spent the most priceless 84 minutes watching this remarkable film! It blew us away, not only visually, but spiritually and emotionally. Speechless with the beauty. Thank you for creating this masterpiece of a rare jewel of the sea. It took us there!   ~Lisa Robertson

Man was that awesome. I loved everything about it.  The narrative, the time lapses of the clouds/sunsets/tides, the split shots of under and above water. Everything about the film was stunning. You are super talented. You managed to capture the pure beauty of Exuma like I didn’t think was even possible. It’s safe to say that I will watch this many many times. Thank you very much for making this film and sharing it with the world.    ~Matthew Worseman

You have almost created a new genre, moving painting mixed with the poetry of experience in such an intoxicating natural world.  ~Anonymous

My ‘Exuma’ DVD was waiting when I got home. I watched it right away. Colin Ruggiero did an AMAZING job on it!   ~Laura Mann

Thank you for blowing my mind. Impeccable job, Colin, well done.  ~Jane Maru

I recently received Exuma in the mail from filmmaker Colin Ruggiero. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but was quickly blown away by the powerful combination of music, narration, and amazing photography. The DVD is 84 minutes of sheer Exuma beauty, above and below the waves. If you thought the trailer was amazing, multiple it by about 5 and you’ll get an idea of what the full length feature film is like.  ~Ryan VanDenabeele (RumShopRyan)

The film is beautiful, amazing, and breathtaking. We just purchased and watched the Blu-ray version and recommend it highly. Filmmaker Colin Ruggiero is obviously a very accomplished wildlife videographer, and this film is an absolute delight to watch for anyone who knows what the Exumas has to offer.   ~Jack Swanton

I have never left a film so blissed out! The grey and snowy world outside of the Crystal Theatre never felt so vibrant!   ~Jonathan Marquis

It is simply awesome. Beautiful colors, great camera detail, cinematography and editing, great music and dialogue too.  Congratulations on a fine, well done piece of work and all the best in your future endeavors.  ~Derek Catalano (Native Stew newsletter)

I just have to say- this movie is GLORIOUS! You don’t need to have a Dad like I did nor own a piece of the EXUMAS to be TOTALLY enthrawled and fascinated by it! This is not just a film! It is a captivating work of art! It’s educational! It’s BEAUTIFUL! It’s MORE than anyone would expect! I purchased The Undersea World of Jaques Cousteau in memory of my Fathers passing. EXUMA surpasses ANYTHING I HAVE EVER SEEN! A MUST for ANYONE, of ANY AGE!  Job well done!!!   ~Lori Klammer

Thanks for making such a beautiful movie!   ~Chris Dow

Just finished Exuma. Truly outstanding. I was so impressed!  Nice work my friend. Just awesome!!!  ~Anonymous

Absolutely beautiful! I can’t wait to see it again:)  ~Sonja Schmidt

Awesome!!  A truly beautiful film and overall smooth poetic piece!  Susanna was sensuous in voice, body, and presence throughout.  Perfect infusion of her natural world experience, and the underwater life, not just a mash of cool island shots.  Very nicely written with excellent light use of narration to gently guide the viewer, letting the powerful imagery speak for itself.  I love the long length for a DVD.  I am no film geek, but that had to have been uncountable hours of shooting, editing, and mind spinning madness to create the final masterpiece.  ~Rob Williamson

Got mine too. Really nice camera work. Must have had hundreds of hours of filming to get this. Reminds me of the fantastic times I had in that beautiful water.   ~Hugh Thomas

If you ever wondered what I dream about each night: #Exuma … Congrats @RuggieroColin and Susanna. Simply gorgeous.  ~Alexandra Farrington

Hi Colin, Just wanted to congratulate you on your film!  I’ve already seen it 2 or 3 times and it just blew me away. I loved it and I thought it was awesome.   ~Cole Tomberlin

My children and I loved the film premier at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival – Wow!   ~Michael Marsolek

I have traveled to Exuma and the Bahamas close to fifteen times for spearfishing adventures, and you truly captured the essence of what freediving means to my friends and I. All of our favorite species were in your film, and it felt like I was there. Thank you for your great work! You captured images and settings that we all attempt to with our less expensive equipment, but as you know, you really cannot express the essence of Exuma unless you are there or use top end equipment.   ~Brandon Collura

Just saw your movie. Fantastic cinematography! Great job.   ~Dave Robertson

Wonderful film Colin. Thank you for sharing your gift for filmmaking with all of us!  ~Joanne   

DVD's and Blu-rays Available on the Website

ColinRuggieroPhoto_IMG_6207

If you’re reading this you have likely expressed some interest at some point in my film about the Exumas.  Thank you!  Over the weekend, “Exuma” had its world premiere in my hometown of Missoula at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.  I was in the Sea of Cortez filming whales and missed the premiere but it played to a sold-out house and rave reviews and I’m excited to have the film finally out in the world for people to see.  These images did not start out as a film.  They were the result of my obsession with carrying a camera around with me while I explored some of the most beautiful islands I’d ever seen.  There were plenty of times along the way when I doubted that all of the images sitting on my hard drive would ever see the light of day.  But there were just too many hours and days and years of stalking pretty blues and puffy clouds and colorful fish to not find a way to share them.  Starting today, limited-edition copies of the film with the lemon shark cover, are available on the film’s website on DVD and Blu-ray.  They are a couple of dollars more than I’m planning on selling the regular DVDs for because I had to print them in a smaller quantity.  Thanks for your patience!  I’m so excited to share all of these images and moments with people.  To that end, anything you can do to help me spread the word about the film is greatly appreciated.  Share it with your friends, post it to your wall(s), shout it from the mountain tops…  There’s a “Share on Facebook” button at the bottom of the post.  Thanks!

I’m also excited to start turning my attention and energy toward other projects.  Got any ideas?  Or better yet, got any ideas and some money?  Let me know!  And if you want to let me know what you think of the film or have any other questions or comments – I’d love to hear from you.

I also want to thank two people in particular who reached out to help me finish this film.  Lisa Robertson and Diana Sandoval Jaszczak both made generous and unsolicited donations to help me get this film finished and I’m extremely grateful for their generosity and support.  Thank you!

You can purchase “Exuma” here.

 

 

 

No, Really…

In my defense, bringing a project like this to fruition all by yourself is a boat-load of work.  But I won’t belabor that point right now – anymore than I already have.  Everything is done.  The edit is locked, the chapter menus and navigation are designed, the packaging is done, the DVD’s (and Blu-rays) are ready to be printed and the shopping cart part of the website is coded and ready to go.  But the company that is doing the disc printing and replication is redesigning their interface and ordering is stalled until next week.  The order should go through next week and a week after that they will arrive at the shipping facility.  The very next day pre-release versions of the DVD will be available for sale on the site.  While we wait, here is a very short deleted scene from the film.  I originally thought it would be a good idea to at least briefly acknowledge the terrestrial life in the Exumas.  But then I decided to just keep to the water.  The biologist seen briefly in the clip is Dr. Will Mackin.  You can find out more about his important bird research here.


Pre-release DVD Coming Soon

Exuma DVD boxI’ve been hard at work finishing the packaging and cover designs for the Blu-ray and DVD release of the film as well as finalizing chapter menus and authoring the actual disc files.  While I can’t have an official release before the film screens at several upcoming festivals, I will be selling a limited number of pre-release copies through my website in January.  I’ll be sure to send an updated newsletter when that becomes available.  I was also notified today that the trailer for my film won third place in the HD video Travel Photographer of the Year competition.  You can view the results here – video entries are at the bottom.

Thanks for bearing with me on the release of the film.  It’s been a long road but it’s almost there.  Happy holidays!

 

Travel Photographer of the Year Finalist

Yesterday I received notice that a short selection of my video and still imagery from the Exumas has made it through the first 2 rounds of preliminary judging and is now a top 10 finalist in the Travel Photographer of the Year competition.  This is a prestigious, international, photo competition and I’m very happy to have made it this far.

I’ve also just finished a month long filmmaking course for the Rocky Mountain School of Photography and am back hard at work preparing to release the full length film.  Stay tuned for more posts in the next several days and an upcoming DVD release announcement.  Help me spread the word and share the film’s page with your friends by clicking the “Share on Facebook” link at the bottom of the post!  Thanks!

ColinRuggieroPhoto_Sand_Flats

 

Personalities

Here’s another random and very short clip.  Personality may be a little bit of stretch when talking about fish.  But they definitely have characteristics that make it seem like they have personalities.  Not only among different species but also among individual fish.  It’s hard to notice this since fish inhabit a world that most of us don’t get much chance to visit.  And when we do visit, it’s often using scuba gear that’s noisy and bubbly and makes us pretty suspicious to anything that lives down there.  But when you free dive and get a little better at holding your breath and relaxing underwater, you blend in better and gradually start to notice things.  Like the fact that fish seem to have personalities.  Fish also have very short memories.  As you dive down, they scatter and hide but only a few seconds later they come back out and swim around as if you’d always been there.  And you see that some are curious and some are scared and some are feisty.  I wanted to portray this in a short section of the film but, like so many other ideas I had for the film, there just wasn’t room and my initial beginning of a sequence fell by the wayside. So it’s either post it here or leave it on the cutting room floor, unseen by anybody.  I’ve left it as I initially put it together during some late night brainstorming session – it’s just a little zygote of an idea for a sequence but interesting nonetheless.

Done.

“Exuma” is done!  The final edit has been locked and exported and I’m gearing up to tackle the next phase – festival circuits and promotion.  I’m not able to have an official DVD release yet because so many of the film festivals require that films not yet be commercially available.  I am hoping to do a limited run soon however to offer to people that have been waiting for some time now to watch the film.  Thanks so much to everyone who has followed along and supported and encouraged me!  I’ll keep the website and newsletter updated with the latest screening information and news and also updates regarding the DVD release, so stay tuned.

For the moment, here is short video sequence of sea hares that I cut from the film a long time ago.  Sea Hares are among the largest marine gastropods and can weight up to about 4 pounds.  They also turn the color of whatever sea plants they eat and can spew toxic ink to deter predators.  The appendages on their heads that look like ears and give them their name are called rhinophores and are actually smell/taste organs.  I thought it would be an interesting contrast to cut a short sequence of these slow-moving animals to fast-paced, techno-sounding music.  An interesting idea that didn’t make the film but is entertaining nonetheless.  The shots toward the end of two sea hares mating in the wild are fairly rare.

A friend from South Africa stands on me to keep me from floating up in the shallow water as I film sea hares.

 

Joan Mann Interview

A few years ago, while I was on Staniel Cay working on my film, “Exuma,” I met an amazing woman named Joan Mann. She was already quite elderly at the time but it didn’t seem to have slowed her down much.  She was energetic and inspired and kind and quickly became a friend.  She had sailed down to the islands in the early 60’s on an 18 foot boat with her husband and three young children in search of a simpler life and had lived on the island ever since.  She was an extraordinary woman who was a part of the community for a very long time and was loved by all. Continue reading Joan Mann Interview

Progress!

Making a film all by yourself takes a long time!  But I’ll save the details for some other post.  This is just an update that I’ve finished a rough cut of the film and a final version is soon to follow!  I’m still expecting an initial release on Blu-ray and standard DVD by the beginning of summer.  I’m cutting quite a bit of material from the initial version of the film in order to get it down to a reasonable length so I’ll be posting lots of additional content, outtakes, and making-of material here.  I’m also trying to secure funding for final music licenses and mastering and duplication costs.  So feel free to click on the blue button!

This is some video of a Reef Shark that was cut from one of the initial rough cuts. It was a very overcast day and the visibility wasn’t particularly great (for the Bahamas) but I went out with a friend and brought my camera along.  We were right along the shore off of Staniel Cay and he had speared a Lionfish that we were going to cook up but we were a long ways from the boat and this shark took a keen interest in us. Continue reading Progress!